#HumCitizen: Montana Informed Citizen Initiative

Presented by:
Humanities Montana
Current Initiative: Democracy and the Informed Citizen National Partner: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Pulitzer Prizes Local Partner: Colleges and Universities Subject: Journalism, K-12 Education, Varies Audience: All, Colleges and Universities, Educators, K-12

From the history of news in Montana to the future of print journalism, Humanities Montana will expand its speakers bureau “Montana Conversations” to engage students and the public in discussions on an array of topics that explore and analyze the role of the news media in Montana and nationally. The council will also create four larger events featuring panels of professional journalists and will partner with the University of Montana to bring a Pulitzer Prize winner to Missoula, MT for a public lecture and give opportunities to high school and university journalism students to work with them.

Below is a listing of the events and resources, organized by month, that are part of this initiative.


Fake News in a Post-Truth Era – Missoula, MT – University of Montana’s Journalism Professor Dennis Swibold, Mansfield Library Web Services Librarian Jaci Wilkinson and Missoulian Editor Kathy Best took questions from a live audience at Imagine Nation Brewing, as well as those from online viewers, about press ethics, disinformation campaigns, and how to research the validity of claims. The panel was moderated by University of Montana Broadcast Media Center Director William Marcus and was the first in a series of Montana Conversations relating to journalism and democracy, part of the Informed Citizen initiative.


Informed Citizen Catalog of Speakers is Now Available! – Online – As part of the council’s “Montana Conversations” program, which sends experts to school classrooms, libraries, and museums, a new offering of speakers who can speak on topics relating to journalism and democracy is now available! Topics include: fake news, the history of journalism in Native American communities, the history of journalism in the United States, environmental coverage, and the difference between regular and investigative reporting. With the additional funding from The Mellon Foundation for the Informed Citizen initiative, the council can now make speakers available for almost any public space. Check out the speakers here.

JUNE 2018

What Happened to the News? with Dennis SwiboldBoulder, MT – Presented by veteran journalist, author and educator Dennis Swibold reveals how news is made and explains the changes facing today’s fast-paced news cycle. Swibold also offers tools and techniques on how to stay well-informed amid the overwhelming amount of available information and ways to participate directly in civic debates happening locally and nationally.


Fake News, Preaching to the Choir, and the Enemy of the American PeopleButte, MT – What does the phenomenon of everyone from the President on down calling anything they don’t like or agree with in the media “fake news” mean? Why has “preaching to the choir” proven to be not only a profitable approach but also a huge contributor to the deep partisan divide in the country? The answers to those questions give us clues to why the President and folks like Steve Bannon have gone so far as to say members of the news media are “the enemy of the American people.” A look at what these trends mean to the country and to journalism.